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May 2019

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

On behalf of the trustees, congratulations on completion of a very exciting and successful academic year. The trustees and I enjoyed our time on campus for our May meetings and Commencement, and the opportunity to meet with each other and many of you over the course of the long weekend.

Following each series of meetings, I like to reach out to the campus community to share information about what the trustees are working on to advance the goals of Puget Sound’s strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World. Below are a few highlights from our meetings.

Workshop on Curricular Framework. We heard a terrific presentation from faculty, staff, and students involved in the Curriculum Task Force and are impressed by the thoughtful work taking place to reimagine and transform the undergraduate curriculum at Puget Sound.

We look forward to learning more about the progress that will take place over the summer, and firmly believe that this effort to more deeply engage all students throughout their time on campus well help Puget Sound become a first choice for students, strengthen retention and graduation rates, and increase our distinctiveness in a very competitive landscape.

Updated Statement on Divestment. As I shared with the campus immediately following the trustee meeting on May 17, the trustees updated our 2016 statement, affirming our commitment to reduce fossil fuel investments and our aspiration to work toward an endowment that is entirely free of hydrocarbon. A copy of the statement and more information about the university’s endowment portfolios (general and fossil fuel-free) is available on the university’s website.

Business Meeting.  We received our first report from new ASUPS President Mushawn Knowles ’20, and heard from Faculty Senate Chair Sara Freeman, Alumni Council Vice President Frank Washburn ’75, and President Crawford. The board values hearing directly from students, faculty, staff, and alumni about their work, and also appreciates the opportunity to meet informally with members of the campus community throughout our visit.

Faculty Tenure and/or Promotion: We were pleased to endorse the awarding of tenure and/or promotion to the following faculty members:

  • Promoted to professor: Lisa Ferrari, Politics and Government
  • Tenured and promoted to associate professor: Adam Smith, Mathematics and Computer Science

We also recognized faculty achievements and retirements at an annual dinner on Thursday evening, and held a dinner the evening before Commencement to welcome Puget Sound’s 2019 honorands: Dr. David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and Mr. Michael Mirra, executive director of the Tacoma Housing Authority. We thank the campus community for submitting candidates for consideration to the Honorary Degree Committee, and the committee for bringing forward these two outstanding individuals who exemplify the values of a Puget Sound education.

Citation for Provost Kris Bartanen. Trustee Bill Weyerhaeuser read a citation of appreciation for Kris, who has been such an instrumental leader in Puget Sound’s success over the past 40 years. We will miss her as she steps down from administrative service, but look forward to her continued contributions as a member of the faculty.

Trustee Elections. We also recognized and thanked departing trustees for their service, and elected incoming trustees who will assume their roles on July 1.

Please join me in thanking the following trustees for their extraordinary service and generosity:

  • Carl Behnke
  • Mitzi Carletti ’78
  • Brad Cheney ’82
  • Rolf Engh P’14
  • Randy Foster ‘74
  • Janeen McAninch ’77, P’06
  • Guy Watanabe ’75, M.B.A. ’76

We also look forward to welcoming the following newly elected trustees:

  • Heidi Brock ’85
  • Gwen Lillis P’05 (returning)
  • Ryan McAninch ’06
  • Chris Pohlad ’07
  • Jamilia Sherls ’05

Finally, we attended to other duties of the board, including reports from the following board committees:  academic and student affairs, audit, development and alumni relations, finance and facilities, and trusteeship. More information about the work of the board is available at pugetsound.edu/trustees.

Please remember that our business meetings are open to all members of the Puget Sound community.  We were happy to have Staff Senate Chair Anna Coy and other members of Staff Senate in attendance, and look forward to returning to campus for our next meeting in October. 


Robert C. Pohlad P’07
Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees



February 2019

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The board of trustees met on campus last week for two very busy days of meetings with fellow board members, students, faculty, and staff. We always enjoy seeing new faces during our concluding business meeting, which is open to all members of the campus community.

A key focus of this and future meetings is advancement of the university’s strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World, our vision to make sure that every Puget Sound student is prepared to succeed and graduates ready to create, serve, and lead the future.

In preparation for the meetings, I asked all trustees to read The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. I found this book to be very powerful in raising issues to consider as we work to create the best possible outcomes for our students. How do we protect academic freedom and embrace free speech on campus? How do we foster a sense of shared identity on campus? How are we helping students to become resilient in the face of obstacles and challenges, and how are we responding to student wellness needs?

We held a workshop to engage these questions together with a panel of staff and faculty members, moderated by Provost Kris Bartanen and Vice President for Student Affairs Uchenna Baker. The trustees appreciated the opportunity to learn more about what the university is doing, and where there is room to grow. Thank you to our terrific panelists: Charee Boulter and Libby Baldwin, co-directors, Counseling, Health and Wellness Services; Sarah Shives, assistant dean of students; Seth Weinberger, professor, Politics and Government; Susan Owen, professor, Communication Studies; director, Center for Speech and Effective Advocacy; and Sara Freeman, professor, Theatre Arts; chair, Faculty Senate.

Another highlight of our meeting was the groundbreaking ceremony for Puget Sound’s new Welcome Center. This project has been on the drawing boards for many years, and we are grateful for the strong donor support that is bringing it to fruition. We look forward to the opening of the new facility next spring and the ways in which it will support the enrollment of future Loggers in addition to providing space for meetings and events.

Of course, not all of our time was spent in formal meetings. On Thursday evening we hosted a dinner with members of the Alumni Council Executive Committee, and learned more about the weekend’s Entrepreneurship Summit. As always, we enjoyed the opportunity to meet with students, attend the ASUPS-sponsored senior wine tasting, have breakfast with faculty, and more.

Highlights of other activities and actions include:

Budget. The FY20 budget was approved as put forward by the Budget Task Force and recommended by President Crawford.

Investment Subcommittee. The Investment Subcommittee continued its review of the Board of Trustees Statement on Divestment and will make a recommendation regarding any updates or changes in May 2019. More information about the university’s current approach to the endowment, including both the General Portfolio and Fossil Fuel-free Portfolio, is available online at About the Endowment.

Tenure and Promotion. In closed session, we were pleased to support the promotion and/or tenure of the following outstanding faculty members:

  • Tenure: Poppy Fry (history)
  • Tenure and promotion to Associate Professor: Nicholas Brody (communication studies), Erin Colbert-White (psychology), Amy Fisher (science, technology and society), Andrew Monaco (economics), Jessica Smith (theatre arts)
  • Promotion to Associate Professor: Mike Pohl (exercise science)
  • Promotion to Professor: Gwynne Brown (music), Justin Tiehen (philosophy)

Leadership Transitions. We were pleased to welcome Vice President and University Counsel Joanna Carey Cleveland to her new role, in which she will serve as in-house legal counsel for Puget Sound and as secretary to the board of trustees. And we celebrated the achievements of our outgoing ASUPS President Collin Noble ’19. It was a pleasure working with him over the past year, and we look forward to meeting new ASUPS leadership in the spring.

We look forward to returning to campus in May, and appreciate the efforts of so many people who do such a great job of preparing for and supporting our board of trustee meetings.


Robert C. Pohlad P’07
Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees



October 2018

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The board of trustees met on campus Oct. 4 and 5, and we were happy to have students, faculty, and staff members in attendance at our business meeting. Please know that business meetings are always open to members of the campus community.

Meanwhile, I’d like to share a few highlights from our recent series of meetings:

Leadership for a Changing World: University of Puget Sound 2018-28 Strategic Plan. I am very pleased with the active and full participation of my fellow trustees in our discussion about, and reflection upon, the goals and projected outcomes of the 10-year strategic plan, and appreciated the good and collaborative input throughout the meeting.

  • Professors Peter Wimberger, Katherine Smith, Greta Austin, and Renee Houston joined trustees for a workshop on key elements of the developing curriculum initiative, with a focus on building high impact experiences more intentionally into the curriculum for the benefit of every student. We heard ideas about potential content area pathways to explore through the curriculum, experiential learning, mentorship, and e-Portfolios. Trustees had the opportunity to discuss questions related to the faculty’s review of the curriculum, and to meet with a dozen students who shared their experiences in summer research, internships, study abroad, and other scholarly work.
  • At the business meeting, we endorsed the goals and objectives of the Leadership for a Changing World plan and look forward to reviewing and discussing various initiatives in support of the plan as they are developed over the coming decade. As one trustee noted, the plan “ticks all the boxes” but “execution is where the work really begins.” We are excited about the promise of the plan and look forward to engaging with you in that good and important work.

2018 Race and Pedagogy National Conference. President Crawford showed a video clip from the recent conference, and conference leaders were invited to meet with trustees so that we could hear directly from Professor Dexter Gordon and express our appreciation to all involved in leading this important conference for the campus and broader community.

Welcome Center. We look forward to bringing online this essential resource for welcoming prospective students and their families to campus, which will also have spaces available for campus events and gatherings when not in use by Admission.

  • The construction contract for the new Welcome Center was authorized contingent on the successful completion of fundraising.
  • Groundbreaking is anticipated to occur between Nov. 2018 and Feb. 2019, with completion of the project targeted for Nov. 2019 to April 2020.

Statement on Divestment. As reported in May, the investment subcommittee is engaging in a periodic review of the Board of Trustee’s Statement on Divestment, and will make a recommendation regarding any updates or changes in May 2019.

More information about the university’s approach to the endowment, including the General Portfolio and Fossil Fuel-free Portfolio, is available online at About the Endowment.

New and Returning Trustees. We welcomed to their first meeting the following new trustees:

  • Shelly J. Heier ’98, president and chief operating officer of Verus in Seattle
  • Michael R. Nicolais P’18, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Highlander Partners in Dallas
  • John P. Walker P’18, executive chair of Zosano Pharma in Fremont, California

We also welcomed the return of Sunshine A. Morrison ’94, principal and founder of Radiance Communications in Seattle.

Breakfast with Faculty and Lunch with Students. In addition to the business meeting being open to all members of the campus community, trustees hold time to meet informally with faculty and students. We greatly enjoy these opportunities to learn more about the work of students and faculty and hear about your experiences.

President’s Leadership Society Reception.  This well-attended event on Thursday evening was a means of thanking our major donors for their support. We enjoyed hearing from President Crawford, Alumni Fund Chair Joel Hefty ‘86, and Alumni Fund Scholarship recipient Carly Dryden ’19.

This is an exciting time for Puget Sound, and I am committed to our full participation in realizing our vision for the future: ensuring that every student who graduates from Puget Sound is prepared to create and serve the future, and to become part of the world’s next generation of visionary leaders.

Robert C. Pohlad P’07
Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees